For many veterans, heading into the outdoors is the perfect balance for the chaos of life. A parade of studies support the mental health benefits of getting outside and seeking a little solitude, whether that be through hunting and fishing or adventuring through mountains or canyonlands. Camping, hiking and other such outdoor activities are also great ways to stay active while maintaining your social distance.
So it should be no surprise to anyone that there are a lot of U.S. military veterans who love each of those activities and have designed the means of conquering them. Those veterans are a hardy, handy bunch and their creations are available to anyone who wants to rock the outdoors the way they do. Here are some of our favorites.
1. The Java Can
How are you gonna have a pumpkin spice latte out in the field without the means to grind and brew some coffee beans? The Java Can, founded by current Special Forces soldier Daisson Hickel, has you covered.
In a compact ammo can, the Java Can carries double-walled cups, a burr grinder, a camp stove, milk frother and more. Just bring fuel for the fire and beans for the water. There's even a slimmed-down version to give you just the jolt you need in the morning, without the latte.
2. Woobie Brothers Apparel Woobie Hoodie
Fall is when the weather is the most uncooperative. It always seems like wearing a jacket makes you hot, but you'd be too cold without it. Good thing the U.S. military already developed the perfect clothing technology for the occasion. It's perfectly warm in the cold and never too hot in the warmth.
If only you could carry your woobie -- what some of us call the issued poncho liner -- with you wherever you go. Well, now you can. Woobie Brothers Apparel makes hoodies from woobies and whether you prefer multicam or MARPAT, Woobie Brothers makes a hoodie for you.
Best of all, every purchase from the Woobie Brothers helps fight veteran homelessness.
3. Badger Flashlights
The Gatorade bottle trick isn't going to cut it when you're camping in an 8-person tent with your in-laws. When you absolutely must wander about in the woods in the dark, you're gonna want a flashlight that is going to work.
Badger Flashlights, founded by Marine Corps veteran Mike Etheridge, presents the BX-1500. It's a tactical flashlight with a rechargeable power cell, made from aircraft-grade aluminum and comes with a 5-year guarantee. You can charge your badger with a USB plug -- a charge it will hold for two years.
That's the light you want to have while you're stumbling around in the dark on your way to defile a small part of a national park.
4. Ammo Can X Speaker
"Bart" and "Spike," two veterans with a taste for tinkering and craftsmanship, were really disappointed with a bluetooth speaker purchase, so they decided to do better. The result is the Ammo Can X Ammo Can Speaker.
This hand-built portable bluetooth speaker offers an aux cable connection in case you don't have a bluetooth device. It also features a really cool military-style control panel and can hold a charge for more than 20 hours. If you're out at a campsite or just hanging by a beach somewhere and your phone runs out of power, the Ammo Can X can also charge another two devices at the same time.
Best of all, Bart and Spike are audiophiles themselves, and the two 4-inch speakers punch way above their weight class. The speakers provide an incredible sound using a proprietary amp design that will ensure everyone knows how much you love Taylor Swift.
5. ITS Tactical Wood-Burning Stove-Cookpot Combo
While no one knows how to survive in the wild better than the fine folks at ITS Tactical, the biggest threat you'll likely face is hunger. Nothing fits the bill better than something that is not only compact, but comes as a combination that stores easily.
The Wood-Burning Stove-Cookpot combination doesn't come in an ammo can, but it is made of titanium and comes with a long-handled spork. If you need more than this hat trick of outdoor culinary catalysts, you can also buy an outdoor fire starter to get dinner going.
If it turns out the biggest threat you have to face is something more aggressive than hunger, ITS Tactical's full name is Imminent Threat Solutions and it was founded by Navy SEAL Bryan Black. The store over there will have something to help you survive. Think ahead.
6. Willie's Honey Moonshine
Ennis, Montana-based Willie Blazer left the Army after 14 years in 2006, spending time with the 19th Special Forces Unit in Afghanistan toward the end of his career. Just a few short years later, he and his wife are distilling more than a dozen unique spirits, including moonshine, which is close to Blazer's North Carolina roots.
At 70 proof, WIllie's Honey Moonshine is enough to warm your insides on a brisk day without rotting your guts. It's also distilled with fresh grains and real honey for a rich, complex flavor that will more than fit the mood.
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